Study: Land use has had profound effects

Jul 13, 2006

U.S. biologists say they've determined 300 years of land-use activities have had profound effects on the Earth's ecosystem.

University of New Hampshire scientists George Hurtt, Stephen Frolking and colleagues say land-use changes have affected between 42 percent and 68 percent of the global land surface.

They analyzed historical records, satellite data and computer modeling to produce the first global land-use history description designed specifically to allow global carbon and climate models to assess the affects of land-use history, both on the past and current sources and sinks of carbon and climate.

Hurtt said the data will allow the next generation of coupled carbon-climate models to include the most advanced representations of land-use practices yet.

"Land-use activities are known to have added large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, altered surface reflectivity and led to habitat alteration and destruction," said Hurtt. "A major challenge for scientists now is to understand the combined effects of these activities on the dynamics of the carbon-climate system. This study provides a key basis for these assessments."

The research is reported in the journal Global Change Biology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: International donors pledge $3bn to save shrinking Aral Sea

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

REDD+ strategies lack plan for agriculture

Jun 08, 2011

The majority of countries participating in a major global effort to reduce greenhouse emissions caused by forest destruction cite agriculture as the main cause of deforestation, but very few provide details on how they would ...

Recommended for you

Australia set to pay polluters to cut emissions

1 hour ago

Australia is set to approve measures giving polluters financial incentives to reduce emissions blamed for climate change, in a move critics described as ineffective environmental policy.

TransCanada seeks approvals for pipeline to Atlantic

12 hours ago

TransCanada on Thursday filed for regulatory approval of a proposed Can$12 billion (US$10.7 billion) pipeline to carry western Canadian oil to Atlantic coast refineries and terminals, for shipping overseas.

Does it help conservation to put a price on nature?

15 hours ago

Putting a price on the services which a particular ecosystem provides may encourage the adoption of greener policies, but it may come at the price of biodiversity conservation. Writing today in the journal ...

Reef-builders with a sense of harmony

17 hours ago

Cold-water corals of the species Lophelia pertusa are able to fuse skeletons of genetically distinct individuals. On dives with JAGO, a research submersible stationed at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, scientists ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.